Fri, 22 Sep 2023


Furniture: Lack of raw materials hamper Sabah
Published on: Friday, November 13, 2015
Text Size:

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah has the potential to develop its furniture industry and other downstream processing because of the big acreage of timber it owns but progress is hampered by the lack of synergy between industry players in Malaya and Bornean states.Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (pic) said in the peninsula, for example, the industry is worth RM6billion a year but due to lack of raw materials, such feat could not be emulated in Sabah.

"In terms of timber industry, we have dreamed of making Sabah a furniture hub in the region. Unfortunately, that did not materialise because we lack raw material. There was once a businessman from France who came here to expand his window frame business.

"He kept asking for more raw materials because he has pumped in money here. In the end, he left, disappointed because his demand could not be fulfilled. So this is our problem here. We have competing views on the viability of raw materials," he said.

Tangau said this when officiating the Technology Transfer Workshop on Value-Adding the Acacia Lumber from Sabah here, Thursday.

He said although Sabah has a total of 63,980 hectares of acacia mangium, there is no dedicated agency to take care of the industry.

Therefore, he proposed that the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) set up a division to do research especially on acacia mangium, from the nursery to harvesting of the timber.

"Through this dedicated division, we can research various fields on acacia mangium, including genetic engineering, tissue culture, study the various kinds of diseases because at the moment, whenever we have problem, there is nobody we can rely on, nobody can provide the solution.

"Forest plantation and its various problems and issues need to be addressed seriously," he said.

Tangau also said the ministry will be willing to provide funds for researchers to conduct studies which could solve practical problems faced by the industry but the studies must be geared towards the greater good and not just for the sake of asking for funds.

"Once upon a time, people knew us because we provided a lot of funds for research and development. But as you all know, now funds and resources are scarce and we need to be more efficient and practical.

"So we would urge studies that are collaborative in nature. You can't work in silos anymore. Even in the field of research and development, it is always more profitable if the studies involve a lot of groups working together because we will have differing views and thus, enrich us more," he said.

In the meantime, Tangau said although Sabah is no longer the leader in the timber-based sector, the industry is expected to grow much more robustly than anticipated with new market development and tree breeding initiatives.

This would bring significant economic contribution to the State, he said.

"Truck flooring has huge international market potential, especially in Canada, Europe, China, Korea and Japan. Just in Japan alone, the potential market for truck flooring is valued at about RM190million annually.

"The retail price of one cubic metre (m3) of truck flooring is about US$1,250. Based on this market projection, it is not difficult to see the big potential on economic gain in value-adding the acacia resources.

"This includes high value-added products such as high class joineries as well as a wide range of acacia furniture products especially for export markets," he said.

The two-day workshop will discuss the development of truck flooring boards from plantation-grown acacia following a two-year research undertook by Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA) with the collaboration of FRIM. The project was funded by the ministry.

The research had managed to reduce the kiln drying process from between six and eight weeks to two and five weeks, cutting down stock holding to the minimum. The quality of the timber produced is also significantly improved with reduced occurrence of drying defects.




Top Stories Today

Sabah Top Stories

Follow Us  

Follow us on             

Daily Express TV